Feature Article - June 2010
Find a printable version here

REGIONAL INFORMATION

A Look at Regional Trends


Budgets

Following on the trend of greater usage and greater staff, we see that the South Central region also leads in terms of percentage increase in average operating expenditures between 2008 and 2011. In fact, respondents in this region are expecting, on average, an increase of 13.7 percent in their operating expenditures in this time frame, from $1,611,000 in fiscal 2008 to $1,832,000 in fiscal 2011. (See Figure 32.) Their average operating expenditure for 2009 ($1,837,000) is 5.5 percent lower than the average across the board, but their projected expenditure in 2011 ($2,103,000) is just 4.1 percent lower than the projected average across the board for that year.

At the other end of the spectrum, respondents from the Western states are anticipating a 7.8 percent decrease in their average operating expenditures from 2008 to 2011, from $2,281,000 in fiscal 2008 to $2,103,000 in fiscal 2011. The average operating expenditure among Western respondents in 2009 was 13.6 percent higher than the across-the-board average, and the projected expenditure for 2011 is 10 percent higher than average.

In 2010, when an overall decrease in operating expenditures of 4.5 percent is expected, the respondents from the Midwest were expecting to be hardest hit, with a 6.6 percent decrease in their average operating cost. Respondents from the West also were expecting a larger-than-average decrease, at 5.4 percent. Respondents in the Northeast were expecting very little change in 2010, projecting a 0.07 percent decrease to their expenditures.

In light of the drop in operating budgets, many facilities are making changes to reduce their costs. Regionally, the most likely to have taken any action to reduce their costs were found in the Northeast, where just 6.7 percent said they had not taken action. In the South Central states, on the other hand, 14 percent said they had taken no action to reduce costs.

The most common method all respondents took to reduce their costs was adopting measures to improve energy efficiency. Among the regions, those in the Midwest were most likely to take this step, with 62.7 percent of these respondents reporting they had done so. They were followed by respondents in the West (61.2 percent) and South Central states (60.9 percent).

Staffing cuts were more common among those in the South Atlantic states, where 56.2 percent adopted this measure. In fact, more South Atlantic respondents said they had cut staff than improved energy efficiency (55.9 percent). Those in the South Central states were the least likely to cut staff. In that region, only 39.8 percent of respondents said they had reduced staff.

Respondents in the South Central states were also the least likely to say they had increased their fees. More than a third (35.1 percent) indicated they had done so. In the West, which was the region where respondents were most likely to have increased fees, nearly half (48 percent) said they had done so.

Respondents in the West were also the most likely to indicate that they had closed facilities to reduce their costs. More than one in 10 (12.7 percent) said facilities had been closed in the West. They were followed by those in the South Atlantic states, where 12.3 percent said they had closed facilities, and the Midwest, where 10.4 percent had done so. Respondents in the Northeast were least likely to have closed facilities. In that region, just 5.3 percent of respondents said they had closed facilities in order to reduce costs.

Respondents in the South Central region were the most likely to indicate that they had received funding due to passage of the Stimulus Bill. (For more information on the impact of the Stimulus Bill on all facility types, see page 20.) In this region, 16.3 percent said they had received such help, and 69.9 percent said they had not. Those from the West were second most likely to receive funds, with 15.5 percent of respondents there saying they had been helped. They were followed by the Midwest, where 13.4 percent had benefited from stimulus dollars, and the South Atlantic states, where 10.6 percent had benefited. Those in the Northeast were least likely to receive such help. In that region, 80.8 percent of respondents said they had not been helped by the bill, and 7.5 percent said they had. This could be due to the larger percentage of privately run facilities in the Northeast, compared with other regions.